The best part about traveling is eating delicious food from all over the world. This works out really well if you go to countries in Asia because all of the food is ridiculously mad cheap. On any given day you can just walk around town and eat anything and everything that spikes your appetite and speaking of Asia, Hong Kong (literally “Fragrant Bay” in Chinese) is reputed to have some of the best cuisine in Asia.
So without further ado, here are the venues that stood out to me the most while I was in Hong Kong for four months.
Hong Kong University of Science And Technology Food Halls (In New Territories of Kowloon):
School food has never tasted so delicious nor has it ever been so cheap. I was extremely satisfied with the pricing, variety, freshness, taste and overall quality of the food that the school served; it was even relatively clean for Hong Kong standards. The menu is extensive enough that you can have something new everyday and most dishes are made to order. Pretty impressive for a school meal.
Price: $16 – $30 HKD, which translates into roughly $3-$4 USD.
Favorite dish: Lemongrass pork chop over rice. (Think crispy juicy lemongrass marinated pork)
Honeymoon Dessert (I know of two locations: second story of the mall in Hang Hou and somewhere in Mong Kok):
A great place to take a date, a great place to end your date and it is even a great place to begin your date! This dessert venue serves a fusion of refreshing desserts. Their mixtures comprise of grass jelly, vanilla or green tea ice cream, “frog eggs” (not really frog eggs), mangos, sticky rice, sesame soup, etc etc. They are well know for their refreshing Semi-frozen vanilla milk base for many of their desserts.
Price: Cheap enough not to care about, I was usually on a date when I went here so I never looked at prices.
Favorite Dish: Thai Sticky Rice w/ Mango on the Vanilla milk base
Seafood! Two Locations: Sai Kung Pier & Lantau Island:
No restaurant in particular. Hong Kong has two areas known for seafood: the pierside restaurants at Sai Kung and the seaside restaurants at Lantau Island. Both of these locations, while on completely opposite sides of Hong Kong, are very similar. The restaurants start you off by having you stare at their seafood cramped aquarium to pick out what you want cooked and how you want it cooked. You then sit down outside right next to the pier or seaside and wait for the chefs to pick out the poor lobster/crab/shrimps/fish that you chose and cook them. The meal is usually finished with a complimentary dessert consisting of fruits.
Price: Expensive, look to spend $100-$400 HKD, or roughly $15-$50 USD
Favorite Dish: Salt & Pepper Fried Peeing Shrimp
Little Family Owned Tofu Pudding shop (Lantau Island)
Assumed to be the best Tofu Pudding in Hong Kong (hold my local friends to that, not me), this place was delicious and cheap. Lantau Island is often a hiking location and that is how I will describe this little gem because I did not see any signs whatsoever. After hiking through Lantau Island, you will reach a beach, continue past the beach for a while longer and you will find this shop on your left (Horrible directions). An old Hong Kong couple clad in wifebeaters and sweats owns this shop. They are located outdoors and serve Tofu Pudding from two giant pots, one for hot tofu pudding and one for chilled, and a kettle of ginger sugar sauce poured on top. There are a few shabby tables and chairs to sit on, but for the most part you go here for the soft, slippery tofu pudding. Beware of mosquitos, they will bite through your clothes (I learned this the hard way).
Price: $10HKD ~$1.50 for 1 bowl
Favorite Dish: This was a tough decision… but I’m going to have to go with the cold bowl, which is surprising because I usually like to eat this dish hot.
W82 (SoHo, Central):
An Italian restaurant. Be prepared to comfort your bank account in tears. This is your small portion, artsily well plated Italian restaurant with unique pastas and alcohols. The ambiance is wonderful, the service is great, delicious but skimpy dishes aall wrapped together with a decent view of Lan Kwai Fong. I took my significant other here for Christmas and it was a great experience.
Price: 3 half-orders of pasta, 1 alcoholic drink and 1 appetizer came out to be $95, and yes that is in USD, no we were not full.
Favorite Dish: They had a complicated name for it, but I knew it as the Duck Ragout Pasta.
Sun Hing (Kennedy Town):
Hong Kong cuisine is most well known for it’s dim sum, or a meal where people gather together to drink tea and eat small little snacks consisting of dumplings, buns, chicken feet and other random Hong Kong goodness.
Better known as “The 3am dimsum place”, this is a delicious dim sum restaurant located in Sheung Wan. Dim Sum joints do not get more legitimate that this place. The tea is as dark as chocolate and an entire wall was stacked with bamboo dim sum containers. Don’t be fooled by the shabby air of the restaurant because this is where you will find dimsum at it’s best. Like the name implies, this restaurant opens at 3am, just a bit earlier than the end of a night out at the bars and clubs.
Price: Cheap enough
Favorite Dish: I have two here. One is the egg custard steamed bun, which is the best that I had in Hong Kong, and Fried milk, I have never heard of fried milk before, but this was some crispy gooey melt in your mouth goodness.
Din Tai Fong (Tsim Sha Tsui, near the giant H&M):
Din Tai Fong is a restaurant chain known for their xiao long bao, or mini steamed pork soup dumplings. Din Tai Fong is all over the world, I know of two in Taiwan, one in California, a few in Japan and Mainland China and of course, one special one in Hong Kong.
Xiao long bao is different than other dumplings because in addition to the dumpling filler in the dumpling, there is also hot soup in the dumpling, which is a tongue burning treat that people will pay big bucks for. Although Din Tai Fong is known for having amazing xiao long bao, I personally was not impressed. All of their other dishes however, were absolutely delicious.
Price: moderate, $50-$100 HKD per person, or about $10-$15 bucks USD
Favorite Dish: Dan Dan Mian (spicy peanut/ground pork noodles)
Sushi One(There are two locations I think, but the one I went to is in Mong Kok):
Two words: Half-off Sushi (Yes that is 2 not 3). This is a great restaurant, I regret not finding it until the last month of my stay in Hong Kong. At 9:00PM people start lining up outside the doors. At 10:00PM They start letting people in for half off everything (including alcohol).
The ambiance of this place is wonderful, great for a date at the sushi bar, or in a large party in the booth. Just because the sushi is half off does not mean that it is not fresh, operations run normally even after the half off deal begins. The alcoholic drinks are served in glass containers with a hole in the middle for ice, which gives the “glassing” (derived from plating of foods) a very unique and, for lack of a better word, pretty look. Just be careful not to spill ice water out of the ice hole. They also give you those cute little stamp cards like the bubble tea shops, get 1 stamp for every $100 HKD that you spend and redeem 10 stamps for a discount on your next visit.
Price: You’re looking at about $120 HKD per person, or $15.
Favorite Dish: Seared Salmon, simple and I could eat it all night long.
Gong Cha (Mong Kok, exit Argyle center + many other locations)
Milk tea is a staple of Hong Kong and this was the best that I had, and trust me, I had milk tea almost every day in Hong Kong.
Price:$8-$16 HKD, 1-2 US bucks
Favorite Drink: Milk Tea with grass jelly (which is soft and slippery oh my…)
Ebeneezers (Lan Kwai Fong)
You probably do not need me to tell you about this joint. A greek shop located in the center of Lan Kwai Fong, this is the food of choice for the tipsy and buzzed clubbers and bar-goers of Lan Kwai Fong.
Price: I don’t remember, I was drunk
Favorite Kebab: I only tried chicken… five times.
Hong Kong is known for a few other dishes/venues that you just have to try a new place every week, here are some off the top of my head:
Barbeque Pork: Cha siu. this is the pork that is cut up at a barbeque shop (you know, the ones where you see a chinese butcher with a giant cleaver and chunks of animal hanging from hooks that you can see through a glass window). It is red in color and you will find this all over Hong Kong. Try it on the streets, try it in the malls, try it in the restaurants.
Hot Pot: All you can eat hot pot. The funnest thing to eat in Hong Kong. Think circle table, giant group of screaming cantonese people, beer, raw meats and vegetables settling around the table, and a giant pot of boiling soup in the middle. Remember to scream in Cantonese while you’re eating hotpot, it’s half the fun.
Price: Usually around $100 HKD
Hong Kong is famous for it’s noodle houses also. You will find these everywhere, on the streets, in the malls, in their own restaurants and in holes in the wall.
Stuff That I Wanted To Try But Didn’t Have A Chance To:
Soymilk Hotpot. What more needs to be said? It’s hot pot with boiling soymilk. It’s different, unique and it must taste wonderful because it comes with a $400 HKD per person price tag.
Dim sum place in Mong Kok, unfortunately I forgot the name to this place. However, I went here twice. The first time, the line was too long. The second time, the line was still too long. That has to tell you something about the place right? They are known for frying their steamed buns.
A restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong known for its beef stew noodles. A cab driver told me about this place. It is opened 24/7 and is known for its beef stew noodles. I do not know the name, I just know that it is in Lan Kwai Fong. Ask anybody about the famous beef stew noodle restaurant, and you’re headed in the right direction.